Australia Day Races at Warwick Farm
Australia Day Races at Warwick Farm

Marway to wait a little longer for next Sydney start

Parochial Rockhampton racing followers will have to wait until next Wednesday for Marway’s much-awaited next Sydney start after he was scratched from his engagement at Canterbury Park on Friday night.

Marway, the 2019 Rockhampton Jockey Club Horse of the Year, was to run in a heat of the Sprint Challenge but because of drawing barrier 14 he was scratched from the race.

Instead, Marway is likely to start on the Randwick Kensington track next Wednesday.

Randwick trainer Mark Newnham has nominated Marway for the $50K BM 72 Handicap (1000m) and the sprinter has been handicapped on 60.5kg.

Marway burst onto the Sydney scene with an impressive win on Australia Day over 1000m at Warwick Farm, delighting his Central Queensland owners the Sturgiss and Wagner families.

“Everything is good with Marway but Mark Newnham wasn’t happy about the 14 barrier draw and didn’t believe he would be suited,” his managing owner, Rockhampton’s Greg Sturgiss, said on Friday.

“Instead, we will wait for the race at Randwick next Wednesday and hope for a favourable draw.”

Absolut Artie - the premier 2020 RJC flagbearer, being the current Horse of the Year - races at Doomben in Brisbane on Saturday.

Similar to Marway, the Ricky Vale-trained Absolut Artie has a huge weight to contend with when the grey races in the $75K NMW (1350m) at Doomben.

Absolut Artie has been allotted top weight of 61kg, will start from barrier seven and be ridden by Brisbane-based Ryan Wiggins.

Ryan Wiggins will ride Absolut Artie in the $75K NMW (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday. Photo: Brendan Radke
Ryan Wiggins will ride Absolut Artie in the $75K NMW (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday. Photo: Brendan Radke

The horse and jockey combination are most compatible, having shared three race wins last winter, capped by the $100K Rockhampton Cup (1600m).

Back from two months break in mid-January, the free striding Absolut Artie won under 62.5kg at Callaghan Park over 1300m before a game third there last start behind Daunting Queen over 1400m.

Genuine to the core, Absolut Artie is a proven weight carrier and if any Rockhampton horse can overcome the hoodoo in winning a No-Metropolitan Win Handicap in Brisbane under such a crushing weight, it will be him.

Vale tried once before in Brisbane with Absolut Artie when on August 15 last year, he finished third in a NMW under 60.5kg, some six lengths behind winner Love Struck.

The trainer has used a different tack for this Brisbane winning attempt as Absolut Artie is still fresh at his third run back, whereas at his previous encounter he was coming to the end of his preparation.

Vale could be in for a super day on Saturday, as he has three superb winning chances at the RJC’s TAB race card at Callaghan Park.

These are Russian Weapon (Race 1 – TAB 2); More Than Luck (R 5 – TAB 1) and I Love This Hippy (R 6 -TAB 4), with the trio being ridden by Ashley Butler.

The Vale stable will also be represented by Think I’m A Lady (R 4 -TAB 12) with Adam Sewell engaged.

Daunting Queen, which was also nominated for Absolut Artie’s Brisbane race, will run in the Callaghan Park 1500m Open Handicap.

Bundaberg trainer Mary Hassam has Daunting Queen well placed again and the mare will come in with 56kg courtesy of apprentice jockey Madeleine Wishart’s 1.5kg claim.

Daunting Queen relished racing at Callaghan Park where she has won eight races and there is no reason why she cannot enhance that record further in what looks a suitable assignment.

However, the Clinton Taylor-trained, last-start Brisbane fourth placegetter Finucane Missile (R4 -TAB 6) looks the testing material with just 54kg to carry.

Stablemate, the highly touted and much capable Bustedup (R 3-TAB 3), will contest the BM 60 (1200m) with both to be ridden by Justin Stanley.

A number of Rockhampton-trained horses will race at the Townsville TAB race meeting on Friday.

The RJC’s next race meeting at Callaghan Park is on Saturday, February 27.

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